NASA wraps up moon rocket test; to set launch date after fix

Science News

In this photo provided by NASA, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule are seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2022. NASA fueled the rocket for the first time on Monday and completed a countdown test despite a fuel line leak. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA said Thursday it has finished testing its huge moon rocket and will move it back to the launch pad in late August.

A date for the first flight will be set after a leak that popped up during a dress rehearsal is fixed, the space agency said.

Earlier this week, NASA fueled the 30-story Space Launch System rocket for the first time and pressed ahead with a critical countdown test despite a fuel line leak. Previous attempts were foiled by technical issues.

No one will be on board the debut launch that will hurl the Orion crew capsule atop the rocket to the moon and back. The initial flight will be followed by astronauts in 2024, looping around the moon and back. The third mission would attempt to land astronauts on the moon no earlier than 2025, more than a half-century after NASA’s Apollo moonshots.

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